Internship Reflections

 

Each semester BCA students participate in internships in a variety of disciplines in Chennai, India. Below are reflections from some former BCA Chennia students on the impact these internships have had on their education and experience while studying abroad.

Business

“This was a real life professional environment which taught me how the business world functions in India and how to make professional presentations in a business setting. Overall, this was essential to my study abroad experience because it provided an uncomfortable learning environment that forced me to step out of my comfort zone and pushed me to be the best student, employee, and person I could be.”

Quinton Horne, Marian University
Internship with GRT Group

Education

“I learned how people interact with each other and how communication works in India on a more intimate level. It taught me that not everything that is prepared will be taught and to simply go with the flow. I learned how to interact with students in more of an educator role and less of a student role (more of a leader/ in charge). And, I think it helped the students to interact with a foreigner and to learn my accent and observe some of the different ways I was doing things. Studying in India would not have been the same, had I not done field work. It helped me grow as a person and really helped me to understand the culture, and how things worked and operated (or didn’t). I enjoyed seeing India and appreciated the ‘inside’ look I had with this special opportunity.”

Kristen Hoffman, Manchester University
Interned with Padapai/Nungambakkam teaching college-age students English, observing, and facilitating discussion and counselling

Political Science

“I participated in a graduate project with the Center for Asian Studies in Chennai. I wrote an article on Indo-Iranian relations. This experience will impact my ability to conduct research and compile the information into a clear and effective report. It helped me gain knowledge of political science organizations and think tanks in India.”

Brian Storch, Wright State University

Social Work

“My field placement at the Women In Need Foundation focused on issues of begging children, the status of woman, caste, dowry, equality, and community health. I learned how to communicate with people vastly different with myself as I worked with people from a different social class, religion, race, and culture. I felt passion, drive, and love for the people I met. I feel like my time in India would have been incomplete without this experience. I was able to understand my course material better as a result and was constantly exercising my brain to come up with new plans and creative solutions to apply to my field placement. This experience will greatly impact my education because I can take all that I have learned and bring it into my own career that will require similar skills. I also felt like part of a tribal culture and had the unique opportunity to be embedded in a rural culture compared to the urban culture in which I was living in Chennai. My best memories are from this experience, and they will never be forgotten. I am so incredibly grateful for this experience.”

Rebecca Anderson, Elizabethtown College


“I learned the value of non-verbal communication, the importance of asking clarifying questions of my supervisors, and I learned ways in which to facilitate a group in an informal setting. Being immersed in the Indian culture in such a tangible way was such a crucial part of my study abroad experience. Getting to learn about the issues NGOs face, and how social workers in that context battle the culture and work with it, was an important part in my understanding of the Indian culture.”

Katelyn Melgren, Bethel College, Kansas
Interned with Madras Christian Council of Social Services (MCCSS)


“This experience is invaluable to my education. The perspective that my field work gave my on issues that I thought I understood is both challenging and important. It has been a life altering experience and one that will shape the rest of my educational experience. This was the highlight of my study abroad experience. I loved my internship and the opportunity to meet people from backgrounds that I would have never met on my own. I loved to see how people functioned in the larger systems that I had been learning about and I really enjoyed getting to see the inner workings of NGOs and getting to evaluate what work and what didn’t.”

Hannah Morris, Juniata College
Interned with ICWO working primarily with populations at high risk of HIV/AIDS


“I absolutely loved the opportunity to intern in Indian society. It gave me hands on experience in an area that I previously was not exposed to at all: both social work and Indian social issues. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and has opened a lot of options for me to consider that I had never before. It greatly contributed to my study abroad experience. It made my experiences more valuable by showing me a completely different side of society and the problems affecting a great population of Indian people.”

Stephanie Starr, Juniata College


“I had my field placement at an organization called Udavi. I spent time in the boys’ shelter and I was able to interact with them through my field partner…. Although I couldn’t directly talk to the kids, I learned a lot about the educational system as well as non profit organizations in India. I was exposed to social work practices and I could point out differences and similarities of how social work is practiced in India and the U.S… I think my internship had a huge impact on my experience because I was able to see how non profits work. I was able to see how the boys in the shelter came together as a family. I was able to see how living in a shelter impacts the children living there. I was able to see how much organizations can stretch the very little funding that they have to keep their services going. It was just overall a great experience.”

Yesenia Torres, Loras College
Interned with Udavi working in a boys’ shelter


“From taking classes at WCC, I learned how nutrition is taught differently in different areas and how it is used to influence and impact society’s decisions on many different things through various points in their lives. From completing research at YRG, I understood how research techniques are conducted in India and the similarities and differences in research methods and practices. Both experiences have positively impacted my education and will make me change my methods in both learning and researching, for the better. The experience, though taxing and quite erratic at times, definitely added to my study abroad experience.”

Lavanya Narayanan, Indiana University Bloomington
Took nutrition classes at Women’s Christian College (WCC) and performed scientific research at YRG Cancer Centre, VHS